While most people talk about Star Trek: Picard at the moment, I thought it was time for this review to tackle the one that, because of its success and quality, probably motivated the creation by CBS All Access of this new show worn by Sir Patrick Stewart. I have of course named Star Trek: Discovery.
In a context where the supply of series has never been so abundant, the Screen Saver[s] intends to be your guide through the seasons. Whether it’s an old series now cult, a recent hit or a more anonymous show, this review will help you to waste your time only in good company.
Accompany the reading of this article with music from the series:
If, as you read these first lines, you’re wondering why your possible lack of culture regarding the vast Star Trek license might be a problem, don’t panic. As an example: I have never watched the many old series, my knowledge being limited to the two recent films worn J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Beyond never existed, don’t insist) and a few well-known and recognized characters in Pop culture However, I had no problem understanding in front of Discovery.
It must be said that the platform to whom we owe the series, namely CBS All Access, made a rather intelligent decision in choosing to make a prequel to the original story. The plot of Star Trek: Discovery is in fact taking place some ten years before the first series, in which it was intended to follow the adventures of the Enterprise’s crew. The series thus uses elements known to the fans only on rare occasions (and especially in season 2) in order to satisfy a maximum number of people while avoiding losing some along the way.
Here it is thus a question of following the character of Michael Burnham, the first human to have received a Vulcan training (a species based solely on logic and the suppression of emotions, for neophytes). After various adventures that I prefer not to reveal the nature of, to leave you the pleasure of discovery, just know that the real starting point of the show is the following: Burnham will be aboard the USS Discovery under the command of Captain Lorca. As its name suggests, this is a Starfleet vessel of exploration.
But rather than simply linking procedural episodes together in a “one planet/one plot” episode as she could easily have done, Star Trek: Discovery has a very surprising, and above all, ambitious thread. The complicated relationship with the Klingon faction, on the brink of war with the United Federation of Planets, is one of the few examples I would deign to give, but from interpersonal relationships to interplanetary issues, rest assured that a great deal is happening in the two seasons currently available.
More than once I was simply blown away by the amazing directions the writers dared to take. We will also appreciate the rhythm and balance of the show, which does not forget to respect the original material and the famous avant-garde side of Star Trek, while modernizing and enriching the whole, just as it should be.
“If you like the space opera genre, you might get served.”
It is also to be welcomed that this ambition is not betrayed by technology. From season 1 – and especially in season 2 – the sets, costumes, lights and special effects are extremely solid. Star Trek: Discovery also avoids the kitsch side often associated with the license; visually one is thus often closer to an artistic direction with a rather realistic and dark atmosphere, like The Expanse. The show is not afraid to show some space battles on an often large scale, so if you like the space opera genre you might as well be served.
I also have a lot of affection for some of the characters in the series, for their rich and relevant evolutions, and for the casting. And if I think a little about the main cast – excellent by the way, with Sonequa Martin-Green in the lead with his very accurate half-human half-Vulcan game – I’m talking mainly about the secondary.
Some guests of quality are indeed part of the game and I am torn between the desire to give you names and that of letting you be surprised. Let’s cut the pear in two, I’m writing them in very small, you’ll only have to squint and move on to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know: Jason Isaacs (The OA), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Michelle Yeoh (Tiger and Dragon), Doug Jones (great as Saru) or Rainn Wilson (The Office).
To be perfectly honest, because that’s still my main mission, Star Trek: Discovery still has some flaws. A handful of annoying characters (I won’t give names so as not to direct your point of view), a few episodes that are a bit underwhelming in terms of interest, or a few directing tics that I don’t appreciate (stop with the cameras turning around or making circles around the characters who are talking, for pity’s sake, my vomit bag is full), are a few examples.
But these little glitches are ultimately quite harmless when you learn how complicated things have been behind the scenes over the months, in a project that has probably been on the verge of cancellation several times. Just look at the showrunner’s chair, where several people have taken turns, including Bryan Fuller, co-creator of the series with Alex Kurtzman (both veterans of Star Trek), who left his position at the end of the first season.
Yet, thanks in part to the S02’s rather unexpected and daring ending, I’ve rarely been so curious to see where a new season of TV series was going to take us. Since yes, there will be a Season 3 and I will be the first on deck to discover it.
– You are looking for quality space opera with ambition
– Charismatic characters in spades, that’s yes
– You like Star Trek
– You don’t have time for three seasons minimum
– You really don’t like space opera and/or Star Trek
– You can’t do the Vulcan salute (don’t panic, me neither)
For broadcasting in France, Netflix owns the rights to the series. Seasons 1 (15 episodes) and 2 (14 episodes) are therefore available, while the future S03 should normally arrive within the year at the rate of one episode per week, if the deal with CBS All Access is maintained. Also, don’t forget to check out the “Trailers and more” section, where there are some nice short bonus episodes, to be seen between S01 and S02.
Previously in The Screen Saver[s] Season 1:
Undone, Peaky Blinders The Capture, Lastman, Battlestar Galactica, Counterpart, Utopia, Manhunt: UNABOMBER, Cosmos, a spacetime Odyssey, The Man in the High Castle Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Boys
Previously in The Screen Saver[s] Season 2:
Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, The Expanse, Watchmen, For All Mankind, Kill the Kill
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